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African fashion lightens the serious stuff at Forbes women's day shindig

13 March 2022 - 00:00
The best in South African fashion on display at the Forbes 30/50 conference, which attracted high-achieving women from around the world.
The best in South African fashion on display at the Forbes 30/50 conference, which attracted high-achieving women from around the world.
Image: Supplied

I am still in recovery from rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s most powerful, influential and inspiring women gathered together in one room.

The Forbes 30/50 conference in Abu Dhabi featured such women as Hillary Clinton (OK she was on Zoom because of the situation in Ukraine, but still), who was answering questions from the audience and doing one-on-one mentoring sessions at 1.30am her time.

Also there was Hillary's chief of staff, the immensely impressive Huma Abedin (who was married to the unfortunately named Anthony Weiner, a rising star in the Democratic Party who had an equally unfortunate penchant for sending pictures of his weiner to much younger women).

Jenny Johnson, president and CEO of Franklin Templeton, the family business managing literal trillions, assured us it was nothing like the series, Succession, despite the fact that she very recently replaced her brother as the top dog.

Rounding out highlights were cosmetics billionaire Huda Kattan, who started out as Instagram’s most popular makeup artist, and Paulina Porizkova, the former supermodel who is now famous for being on Instagram without filters or Botox, and recovering from a rock star marriage that ended in tears.

Her husband died of a heart attack before their divorce was finalised — but after he had removed her from the will. 

In short, a cast of wondrous, human, wonderful women who continue to excel, delight and rake in the billions, and who also happen to delight in a little fashion show.

This is the genius of Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, who understands that while the world may be a precarious, dangerous and unpredictable place, there is a way to lighten the mood and do some good along the way.

What better way to celebrate International Women’s Day than to showcase African fashion to the world’s most powerful and influential women.

So she proposed a fashion gala showcasing South African and African designers to the Forbes team — and what a good idea it was.

After a day in discussion  on topics ranging from investing in crypto (just open an account and try it, was the advice from all the billionaires in the room) to the Ukraine war,  the need to engage the Taliban on women’s rights and how to prevent maternal mortality in childbirth with a portable solar-powered suitcase equipped with essential obstetric equipment, everyone was ready for champagne.

Along with that was a three-course dinner and a rousing fireside chat from Dr P about how the fashion industry supports and empowers millions of women around the world. A good old shot of fun in the arm — necessary in this day and age. 

What better way to celebrate International Women’s Day than to showcase African fashion to the world’s most powerful and influential women. 


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